J Chalmers, inventor of the adhesive stamp.
James Chalmers (February 2, 1782, Arbroath – August 26, 1853, Dundee) was a Scotsman (buried on 1 September 1853 in plot 526 Dundee Howff) who it was claimed, by his son, was the inventor of the adhesive postage stamps.
He trained as a weaver, before he moved to Dundee in 1809 on the recommendation of his brother. He established himself as a bookseller, printer and newspaper publisher on Castle Street. He is known to have been the publisher of "The Caledonian" as early as 1822. Later he served as a Burgh Councillor and became Convener of the Nine Incorporated Trades.
As such, he was described as a slayer of the "dragons which retard progress", battling repeatedly in the cause of Burgh Reform, and fighting for the repeal of taxes on newspapers and newspaper advertisements, and the removal of the excise duty on paper.
Essay submitted by James Chalmers on 30 September 1839
His most burning enthusiasm, however, was postal reform, and from 1825 he campaigned the authorities to speed up the mail between Edinburgh and London by convincing them that this could be done without extra cost. After several years he managed to induce a time saving of nearly a day in each direction.
In December 1837, he sent a letter outlining his proposals to Robert Wallace, MP for Greenock. Furthermore, he submitted an essay for a proposal for an adhesive postage stamp and cancelling device which was dated February 8, 1838. This also contained illustrations of one penny and two-pence values. He did not favour the use of an envelope for a letter, as each additional sheet incurred an additional charge. Instead, he proposed that a "slip" or postage stamp could seal a letter.